The Grim Reaper

It is now five days before Halloween and two friends of mine are going out as dead people.

There are many symbols for Halloween: spiders, pumpkins, black cats, witches and warlocks, but none greater than death.

XIII - Death
XIII - Death

In the Tarot, Death is Major Arcana card #13.

Death is not a card I get often – not for myself and not for others.  When I do see it pop up in a reading, it always takes me aback for a moment.  Not because I have any fear of it, but because I am sure I am missing something. Death, as a Tarot archetype, means transformation and transmutation.

But how often do we really experience either transformation or transmutation?  These words represent significant shifts, not just breaks from continuity. So when Death comes up, I often ask myself, “What am I missing? What does this really mean?”

Well, in two of the last few readings I’ve done for myself, Death has reared his bony face. Hmm. What am I missing?  What does this really mean?

As you all know by now, I am well within a phase where I have been primarily learning spiritual wisdom through numbers.  Spirit has been speaking to me in that language, yet, whenever I’ve tried to understand the Death card via its numerology, I’ve drawn a blank.

Death is a 13/4.

One is individuality, independence, an individual, potential or beginning.

Three is creativity, creation, two having come together give birth to something.

Four is stability, foundation, the end (result) of linear growth, a platform from which to jump off of.

13/4 would thus mean to me, perhaps, an individual who through their creativity constructs something that is stable and will last a long time.  Doesn’t sound like death to me.

When I think of death (as in physical death), I think more of 5 or 7.  Five is change and is often painful.  Seven is transformation, a significant departure from whatever direction we were going in to begin with.

But Death is card 13, not 5, not 7, not 14 and not 16. Hmm. What am I missing?  What does this really mean?

But then, on my walk (where I do my best thinking), I started to get it.  I found a thread that when I pulled on it started to unravel the veil that was blocking my understanding. [And, most interestingly, in the middle of the song I was listening to, I heard the lyrics, “Kiss me I’m dying…”]

Consider the following:

Die’ is a three-letter word.
Dead’ and ‘died’ are both four-letter words.
Death’ is a five-letter word.

Now consider this:

To die is an act; it is a verb.  It is very short lived.  You die and then it’s over.  Dying is a process, but to die is an instantaneous crossing from one state to another.  When you die, you create an end of your life as the person you were and then something happens that no one knows for sure.

Death is a concept. When we use the word death, we typically are not talking about a specific death of a specific person or being. Halloween is more about death than dying.  It is not about the act of dying, but the concept of death, the eeriness that surrounds it.

Dead (or died) is permanent.  When you’re dead, you’re dead – as they say. Dead as a doornail. Don’t beat a dead horse.

If you think of death in those terms (die, dead, death), the number of letters represents the vibration of the meaning.  Die is three as it is an action that leads to something.  Death is five as it is a concept of change. Dead is four, a very stable state.  Once something is dead, it is not going anywhere and not going to change much.

Okay, all of this is a start for greater understanding, but as you see, death is still five, not four, and the card is called Death, not dead.

However, lets reconsider the meaning of four.  Four is the end of linear growth and a platform from which to jump off of.  It is not supposed to be an end, but a middle.  Well, death does match this. It is the end of our physical life and it is a conceptual platform that we do jump off of. In fact, it is a jumping into the abyss because, from this side, we don’t know what we’re jumping into.

So what spirit said, as I started to figure this out, is that…

“Death is a four because it is a doorway we pass through where we cannot see the other side.”

Well, clearly.

But remember a few blogs ago when I spoke of the difference between 9, 10 and 1?

At nine, we are nearing completion and looking back at the journey we took to get here.  But death doesn’t always come with enough warning for it to be a nine.

At ten, we are inside of the gateway and can see both forward and backward.  Well this is not like death either.  We can’t see forward at all, at least not until we are fully dead.

And from a human perspective, we would never associate death as one, because we’re just not yet evolved enough to think of it that way.  Death clearly feels like an ending and not a beginning.

And then I saw it this way.  Death is a four, but it is also a 13, a one and a three.  When I used to think of this, I thought it was a one moving into a three, or through a three, but it is a one leaving three.

A while back, in The Hard Six, we got information on three.  One meaning of three is this three dimensional existence that we live in.

So one way of looking at 13 is a one that is leaving 3-D reality.  Okay, that fits.

But here is another way of looking at it.  If you have a table with four legs, which is very stable, and remove one of the legs, what happens? Death has two perspectives.  There is the one that dies, but there are all the rest of us who witness the death and are affected by it.  A table can stand on three legs, but it must transform itself to do so.  The legs have to be repositioned.

If you think of real life, when someone or something dies, those of us around that death have a transformation of some sort.  Yes, we have the grieving process, the pain of separation, the loss, but we must also relearn how to go forward in light of the death that was around us.  Our routines change as a result of death – at least when death is close.

And let’s use the most general meaning of death. What happens if your car dies?  What happens if the company you work for dies? What happens if your computer dies? What happens if your relationship dies?

So, death is a 13 because one piece of the stable four is going away, departing, leaving the other three behind.  All four pieces must then transform as a result. Death (the card) is about the gateway, in the middle of a journey, which we cannot see through, but that comes at the end of some phase of linear growth and from which we must jump into the unknown – thus four.

Now I get it. The Death card is really the beginning of the transformation, of the whole process of transformation. It is not necessarily the transformation itself, but the setup for it!

Okay, so now I better understand Death.  And now I get to consider what it means for me as it has showed up twice now in a short period of time. And as I thought of this, both personally, and generally, as Death applies to me and as it possibly applies to everyone at this time, I was reminded of current events that I’ve recently read about.

What is the most common reaction that we humans have in the face of someone or something that is dying? Resistance. We hold on. We plead with a loved one to not go. We plead with God to save them. We refuse to leave a hospital room because we so do not want to face the other side.

If it is a company, an infrastructure, a relationship, a job, a habit that is dying, we might do everything in our power to try and keep it alive. Sometimes, the fact is, it is dying. It may be, for all intents and purposes, already dead, but we hold on out of fear. We can’t image what it will be like on the other side, so we hold on. We stay in a relationship that no longer supports us.  We stay in a job that no longer inspires us.  We prop up a company that is no longer serving the world. And we hold on to a concept, a belief, with white knuckles, because we cannot imagine what it is like on the other side.

Did you read about the woman who drove around for MONTHS with a dead body in her car? She was letting a homeless woman sleep in her car, but when she discovered that the homeless woman had died in her car, she was too afraid to do anything about it.

It doesn’t matter on which side of death you are; you may be the one who is dying or the one who is witnessing the death, in either case, you at some point must jump off of the platform created by the death. You might not know what it will look like on the other side, but at some point, you need to step into the darkness and trust that the light will come back on.

We all may be witnessing death as an archetype and soon.  Maybe certain concepts we’ve held as truth will be revealed as lies.  Maybe some institutions we’ve felt were too big to fail will simply fail.  Maybe something more profound is actually in the works.

In any case, Death is a four. It is not an end; it is a middle. We might not know what’s on the other side, but it doesn’t mean there’s nothing there.

No one likes to witness death (as in someone or something dying) and yet we are fascinated with death (as in the concept and what happens afterward). Just look at Halloween. In a way, we celebrate death, we imitate death, we scare each other to death!

In the movie Hereafter, the main character says, “A life that is all about death is no life at all,” and yet that character was missing the point of his gift.  A medium is not here to serve the dead, s/he is here to serve the living.  Abraham says that no one gets stuck on the other side, yet on this side, after experiencing death, we get stuck – just like that woman.  She drove around with that dead body – and we go on living with that dead-end job, relationship, habit, pattern, or belief – and we do nothing about it.

Sometimes, even after the job, relationship, whatever has died, we still do nothing.  That’s because what may have died was not all that needed to die.  Maybe the physical manifestation of something expired, but maybe we never really moved on.  Our past relationship may be the dead horse we’re not supposed to beat, but we do need to get back on another horse to get somewhere.

Remember what follows four is five.  Four gives us time to rest and repair, to heal and grieve, but then we need to change.

Halloween is on the 31st – same as 13 – and then on the other side of it is November – an 11 – a full month of illumination – and disillusionment….

And its interesting because today is the 26th – and 26 is 2*13.

Kiss me I’m dying, cause things certainly need to change…

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